Sometimes it can all be just a bit too easy. It was the height of this year's Mayfly season. Chalk stream fisherman dream of days when the hazy, wet, warm air speckles with chubby, lacy-winged mayfly. Saturday was perfect. Pretty, grey insect forms patterned the skies like damasked flowers on a linen table cloth. The sound of the river rippling and the song of the birds were punctuated by the splashes and clashes of mad, hungry and desperate trout. Pretty much straight away my line was loaded with a green mayfly pattern. Pretty much straight away I was into a fish, then another and other. They were giving themselves away too easily. The fish were being slutty and I felt a little dirty. Because I could catch them so easily the sport had disappeared. It confirmed to me what I had always felt: I don't go fishing to catch fish. The reasons why I go are many and complicated. I can't even begin to list them, perhaps it's a bit like trying to unpack my soul.
I know, however, that each time I go I try and get a little bit better. Casting is maybe one of the few things I could get quite good at. I decided to make the wanton fish a little harder to get. I placed myself in a bower of willow and decided to roll cast to them. Ideally this should mean that my line unfurls forward from my rod. I concentrated on making the loading D-shaped loop and flicked out the line. I repeated again and again until, well not perfect, but satisfactory. The fish for once that day were not impressed enough to take my faux morsel. I was, and whilst watching its latex tail float perkily I concluded that everything is so much better when you have to work for it.